Two Mozambican nationals have been arrested in the northern province of Cabo Delgado in possession of nine elephant tusks in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, APA learns here on Saturday. Private television station STv quotes the spokesperson for the Cabo Delgado Provincial Police Command, Malva Brito, as saying the ivory had been seized in the Josina Machel neighbourhood of the provincial capital, Pemba, where the men were trying to sell the tusks.
The tusks came from Marrupa district, in the neighbouring province of Niassa, doubtless from elephants slaughtered in the country’s largest conservation area, the Niassa National Reserve.
According to STv, one of the two men, named as Ali Saide, said they had purchased the nine tusks for the extraordinarily cheap price of about $4,000 and planned to resell in China, which is the main market for illicit ivory where the black market price in 2014 was $2,100 dollars per kilo.
The latest elephant census in Mozambique, announced in May, showed that between 2009 and 2014, the elephant population had declined by 48 percent to about 10,300 from just over 20,000.
In July, the Mozambican authorities incinerated over two tonnes of ivory and rhino horns seized from poaching gangs and traffickers in various parts of the country and at the time, the minister of Land, Environment and Rural Development, Celso Correia, declared that the incineration was a demonstration to Mozambican society and to the world of the government’s commitment to fight against poaching.